Color Dreams

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Color Dreams
Industry Video games (formerly)
Electronics (as StarDot Technologies)
Fate reformed as StarDot Technologies
Successor Wisdom Tree
StarDot Technologies
Founded 1988-1996
Key people
Dan Lawton (founder/co-owner)[1]
Products Various video games for Nintendo Entertainment System
IP cameras (as StarDot Technologies)
A screenshot of Robodemons, a Color Dreams game

Color Dreams (d/b/a StarDot Technologies) is an American company formerly known for developing and publishing unlicensed video games for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The company left the video game industry in the mid-1990s, shifting its focus to IP cameras and related surveillance equipment.[2][3]


While most companies that developed NES games obtained an official license from Nintendo to produce game cartridges, Color Dreams was unusual in that it developed NES games without an official license.[4] To produce these unlicensed games, Color Dreams had to bypass the NES's "lock out" chip (the 10NES).[5] The company successfully bypassed the system, developed a game (Baby Boomer), and released it in 1989. Several other titles followed in 1989 and 1990, including Captain Comic, Crystal Mines, and Robodemons.

As a result of its reputation for releasing poor games, Color Dreams formed the label Bunch Games in 1990. Bunch Games was meant to be a label that Color Dreams could use to release lower quality games so that its reputation would not be damaged further.

In 1991, Color Dreams formed Wisdom Tree for the purpose of releasing Christianity-themed games. The Wisdom Tree label resulted in Color Dreams' best selling titles, including Spiritual Warfare and Bible Adventures. Wisdom Tree is also noted for creating the only unlicensed SNES game to ever be released in North America, Super 3D Noah's Ark.[6] While Wisdom Tree remains active today and is still selling religious video games, Color Dreams left the video game business in 1996 to focus on digital camera development, now trading as StarDot Technologies.[1][3][7]

Cancelled projects[edit]

One Color Dreams project that was never released was a game based on the movie Hellraiser.[1] The game cartridge, or “Super Cartridge” as it was called at the time, contained an extra processor that modified the tiles in the cartridge RAM without alerting the NES processor. This allowed for enhanced graphic effects rarely seen on the NES, such as a fully animated background running without the lag usually found with such tricks. The extra processor also performed palette swapping between scans of the TV to give the illusion of extra color. Because of delays in production, development problems, lack of a market for unlicensed games based on horror movies, and the exorbitant amount of money it took to make each “Super Cartridge”, the project was eventually abandoned.[8]


In August 2011, Ken Beckett, the programmer of Crystal Mines, released the source code under a custom permissive license to the public.[9][10] Artwork is still proprietary but can be shared for non-commercial, personal use.[11]

Video games published by Color Dreams[edit]

All games were developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System unless otherwise noted.

As Bunch Games[edit]

As Wisdom Tree[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Deforest, Roger. "Color Dreams - Wisdom Tree - Secret Scout". Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Floyd, Samuel (23 February 2014). "Interview with Wisdom Tree Owner Brenda Huff". Vintage Gamers. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Gibson, Nick. "Interview: Brenda Huff". Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Weiss, Brett (6 July 2009). Classic Home Video Games, 1985-1988: A Complete Reference Guide. McFarland. ISBN 9781476601410. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Woodyard, Chris (1990-10-24). "Nintendo Keeps Color Dreams Up Worrying Video Games". Los Angeles Times. p. 5. Color Dreams' games circumvent the Nintendo lockout chips and can therefore operate on the Nintendo system. 
  6. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (14 January 2014). "Unlicensed SNES game Super 3D Noah's Ark to be reprinted". Eurogamer. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Color Dreams, Inc.: Private Company Information". Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Color Dreams". Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Crystal Mines (Source Code) (NES Game) on (Aug 26, 2011)
  10. ^ Post subject: Crystal Mines Source Code Released on (August 2011)
  11. ^ Crystal%20Mines%20(NES) in "Crystal Mines License.txt" "Ken's license: - The name "Crystal Mines", the graphics, sound, music, and the levels are NOT open source. People other than me worked on them, and for that version of the game actually got royalties and still have ownership. It's OK to possess them for personal use, but they can't be reused in a new game or distributed for profit. - As the sole author of the code, I (Ken Beckett) will allow the source code for the NES version to be used in other works, provided that: A) Credit is given to 'Ken Beckett' in both the portions of re-used source code AND in the credits of the new game, and B) That the code is modified sufficiently such that the new game is not easily recognizable as being Crystal Mines with new graphics/sound/music. -Ken"

External links[edit]